The Japanese whaling fleet is at sea again, heading down to the Southern Ocean to begin its annual whale cull. And this year their plans are bigger than ever, targeting 1,000 cetaceans including 50 endangered fin whales, 935 minkes and, for the first time, 50 threatened humpbacks.
Once again this slaughter will be justified in terms of gathering 'scientific' data about whale populations, even though 18 years of this have yet to yield any concrete results. And once again the whale meat will end up being sold commercially in Japan, despite the tiny and declining market, and minimal demand from the rest of the world.
Japan's concept of 'scientific' whaling has long been exposed as a scam. The IWC (International Whaling Commission), which regulates whaling worldwide, has said for years that the information gathered is not useful. Everything the whalers find out from harpooning whales can be learned by non-lethal means.
To demonstrate this, we recently undertook a joint project with two ocean research institutes to track the migratory behaviour of humpbacks (noted for having the most complex and beautiful songs of any cetaceans), by tagging and tracking them via GPS. You can see Google maps of their progress by visiting the Great Whale Trail, which will also be showing the whalers' progress as they head to Antarctic waters.
Our ship the Esperanza was standing by off the Japanese coast
waiting for the whalers to leave their home port of Shimonoseki, and is now
tracking the fleet as it begins the long journey south. We intend to monitor
and record the whalers' activity, and intervene as often as possible to limit
the number of whales they're able to kill. This senseless slaughter must be stopped.
- Sign up for whale mail; keep up to date with the expedition as we head south to challenge the whaling fleet.